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The Pool

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 49
Date: 1859
Medium: etching and drypoint
Size: 140 x 217 mm
Signed: 'Whistler.' at lower left
Inscribed: '1859.' at lower left
Set/Publication: 'Thames Set', 1871
No. of States: 6
Known impressions: 85
Catalogues: K.43; M.42; T.47; W.41
Impressions taken from this plate  (85)


Six states are known before cancellation.

State 1

Etching: K0430102
Signed 'Whistler.' and dated '1859.' at lower left.
To left, behind the man in the boat, is the outline of the interior of a barge, and beyond is a sailing ship with bare yards; at right are warehouses and derricks, receding into the distance at far left.

State 2

Etching: K0430201
Everything was removed, except the man and his boat and the signature, and the composition was completely changed, though a few traces of former work remain in the sky; behind the rowboat are laden barges, the one on the right with the name 'JANE' and 'No 6' on the stern; a young woman stands on one of the furthest barges on the right, looking at a house-boat, behind her; at far right is the bow of a larger ship moored with chains at a low pier or breakwater; there are barges in mid-stream to left, the one atthe left poled by a man and a small boat being rowed at the right; sailing barges are moored at the wharves to the right; warehouses and docks run from the middle distance at right, into the far distance and a church steeple at the left; at right, a tall building with a derrick bears the sign, 'NEW CRANE / TO LET'; behind it is a three-masted sailing ship in dry-dock, then a low building labelled 'Gr GEORGE'S Wf', and a five-storey warehouses with the sign 'COOPER'; the clouds are drawn with irregular broken lines, particularly at the left; there is a short, almost vertical line below the stern of the third barge in the distance.

State 3

Etching: K0430301
The sky has been erased and is filled with irregular traces of burnishing and scraping, except for a patch of shading at upper left; the short line below the stern of the third barge in the distance has been burnished out; the sky-line of the houses at extreme left is sharper and slightly changed, with windows in a narrower spire at far left, and some of the masts are removed above the buildings to right of the spire, above and to right of the man in the barge in mid-stream, so that the tip of his pole is seen above the skyline; light horizontal lines are added in the water below this manned barge.

State 4

Etching: K0430309
The shading at the upper left corner is reduced, as are some of the scraping marks, particularly above the dark warehouse to right of centre; a spot of foul biting at upper left is removed.

State 5

Etching: K0430307
Drypoint shading is added all over the sky to indicate scurrying clouds.

State 6

Etching: K0430420
Several undulating left-right diagonal lines (\\\) are added in the sky, near the centre of the plate; the drypoint has worn down slightly in the sky, or been rubbed down, leaving faint traces of the fine slanting lines, particularly at the left; flecks of corrosion are visible particularly in the water and sky.
In later states it appears that the traces of corrosion are reduced and the drypoint in the sky is faint, as shown in the reproduction below:
Etching: K0430405

State 6 (cancelled)

Etching: K0430503
Cancelled with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines.